Consolidated Rental Car Center at LAX.  (LAWA photo)

By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA

ARTBA has recognized two individuals and two transportation projects with Public-Private Partnership (P3) Awards. The awards were presented July 18 at the 31st Annual Public Private Partnerships (P3s) in Transportation Conference in Washington, D.C. The winners are:

Trailblazer of the Year: Dr. Morteza Farajian

Dr. Morteza Farajian

This award is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to, and advocacy for, the forward progress of P3s in the U.S. transportation industry.

Before becoming executive director of the U.S.DOT’s Build America Bureau in 2019, Farajian spent five years with the Virginia Department of Transportation procuring and delivering some of the highest profile and most beneficial P3 projects in the country, including the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project, the I-395 Express Lanes Extension project, and the I-95 Express Lanes Extension project.

Emerging Leader of the Year: Ali Lauzon

The Emerging Leader of the Year has already made a significant impact in the first 10 years working in the U.S. transportation P3 sector.

Lauzon, a recent Yale University School of Management graduate is a “leader of emerging leaders” the awards committee noted. In Virginia DOT’s P3 Office, Lauzen helped build the next generation of leaders in P3/infrastructure by co-organizing ARTBA’s annual emerging leaders track at the association’s annual conference and serving as co-president of Young Professionals in Infrastructure. Her efforts have encouraged many bright young professionals to consider transportation construction as a career path, grown the technical capacity of those in the industry with informative workshops on a range of topics, and facilitated networking events that connect diverse parts of the industry. She will continue these efforts in her upcoming role as an adviser with McKinsey.

Innovation of the Year: Consolidated Rental Car Center at LAX, Nossaman

The award spotlights an idea within a P3 project that demonstrates how the development and/or application of new, innovative, and unique concepts help provide value for the users of P3s.

The nation’s largest consolidated rental car center at LAX, ConRAC, will relocate and centralize 23 existing car rental facilities scattered around the airport away from the central terminal and provide direct access to major freeways. Ultimately the facility will connect to an Automated People Mover (APM) to provide travelers with quick access to terminals. The combined projects, with a collective contract value in excess of $7 billion, will transform the airport and dramatically improve the experience for travelers at the world’s fifth busiest airport beginning in 2023. They are also part of the airport’s modernization program and represent the first two public-private partnerships to be entered into by the City of Los Angeles.

Community Impact of the Year: Central I-70 Project Denver, Colo., Kiewit Meridiam Partners, LLC

The Community Impact of the Year winner demonstrates economic, philanthropic, or humanitarian benefit to the public and an improved quality of life for the community and/or users of the asset.

As part of the $1.2 billion Central 70 project, contractors Kiewit Meridiam Partners will reconstruct a 10-mile stretch of I-70, one of Colorado’s “economic backbones”. A new express lane in each direction, removal of an aging 54-year old viaduct, a lowered interstate between major boulevards, and a 4-acre park over a portion of the lowered interstate near an elementary school are all part of the project’s plans. When completed in 2022, the project will reduce congestion, improve safety and better accommodate future growth along the vital transportation corridor.

In keeping with the community impact of the project, partners held a school supply drive for a local elementary school, built a sound barrier directly behind another school and included “playful art” for the children to look at while playing outside, partnered with high schools to teach the younger generation about careers in construction, and worked with a resident-led area non-profit to increase and expand educational paths for at-risk students to complete high school and college.